Places People Prefer

The Office
Agenda

The Office Agenda brings together our extensive insight into what makes an office that people – from employees to the board – prefer.

Places People Prefer

The Office
Agenda

Wellbeing

How to combat workplace stress

As the UK’s workers continue to experience stress at work, we look at why the physical environment of the office is central to wellbeing and mental health

Almost two thirds (63%) of UK employees experience stress in their jobs, according to recent research by Happiness Works for recruitment specialists Robert Half UK.

In response to this issue, more and more organisations are introducing wellbeing initiatives to support the physical and mental health of employees at work. The research found that 48% of businesses offer tools designed to promote wellbeing in the workplace, with one in seven providing stress management seminars or training, as well as annual leave for personal and mental wellbeing.

Some businesses are also creating agile work environments that provide a better work experience, and many are rethinking how the design of the workplace affects employee health, wellbeing and productivity.

This chimes with the results of a survey British Land conducted in 2016, where we asked 1,000 workers what features they’d like to see in their ideal office. For example, 84% of those surveyed said they’d like to work in an office with communal working and meeting areas, while 73% valued outdoor areas and gardens where they could relax during breaks from work.

Smart wellbeing

Matt Webster, Head of Wellbeing and Futureproofing at British Land, is pleased that the mental and physical health of employees is continuing to rise up the office agenda and says that there’s plenty of evidence that wellbeing is greatly affected by the physical environment.

“Workplace design is one of the few measures to address workplace stress that employees don’t have to actively opt in to,” he adds. “A well-designed office influences your feelings of wellbeing the moment you enter the building – or, indeed, earlier, if the environment around the building has been sensitively designed.

“That’s why our focus is on creating Places People Prefer. It means thinking about the campus space around our offices as well as creating great office environments.”

Webster adds that the introduction of smart technologies in office buildings will provide a further boost to workplace wellbeing, as our new report reveals. It highlights the ability of smart buildings to respond to individual needs when it comes to factors that influence wellbeing and performance – things like temperature, air quality and levels of light and noise.

Indeed, in our recent survey of London office workers on smart building technology, the most popular smart office features were those that would make their personal workspace more comfortable, and thus less stressful: self-adjusting lighting and window shades (53% don’t have this but think it would be helpful), the ability to personalise heat and light settings and have those settings follow you around the building (53%), and circadian lighting systems that mimic natural daylight (51%).

Technology may not have all the answers, but in the coming years, it does look set to alleviate some of the factors that cause workplace stress.

Tagged in: DESIGN, SMART BUILDINGS, TECHNOLOGY, WELLBEING

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